UOG 2014 Key Speakers and Panelists:
Dr. Vinegar was previously Chief Scientist, Physics of Royal Dutch Shell. He is presently the Chief Scientist of Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), Afek Israel Oil & Gas and Genie Oil & Gas. He holds MA and PHD degrees in physics from Harvard University and a BA in physics from Columbia. Harold joined Shell's Bellaire Research Centre in Houston, Texas in 1976. During his career at Shell, he had over 50 publications and 290 patents in the fields of shaly sand evaluation, X-ray CT, NMR well logging, microseismic imaging and wireless power and communications for intelligent oil wells.
He was co-inventor of the in situ thermal desorption process for soil remediation and was instrumental in the formation of TerraTherm Environmental Services, an affiliate of Shell Oil Co. created to commercialise the in situ thermal desorption process. Dr. Vinegar has had a career interest spanning over 35 years in applying novel recovery processes to unconventional resources. He is the co-inventor of the in situ conversion and upgrading processes (ICP and IUP) which have been piloted successfully in Colorado oil shale and Alberta oil sands. Harold served as President and VP Technology of the Society of Core Analysts (SCA). He received the Society of Petrophysicists (SPWLA) Distinguished Technical Achievement Award in 1992 and the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2010.
He was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1999, cited " for contributions to the science and technology of oil exploration and environmental remediation, particularly thermal methods for extracting hydrocarbons from the ground and for applications of NMR methods to well logging." He was inducted into the US national Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2003 and served on the US National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Earth Resources.
Since retiring from Shell in October, 2008, Harold and his family fulfilled a lifelong dream and emigrated to Israel. He is Professor of Petroleum Geosciences at Ben Gurion University of the Negev where his research centres on making Israeli energy independent.
Founder and Partner of Halman-Aldubi Energy and a Director at Israel Opportunity Oil & Gas Exploration Ltd. Uri is the Chairman of the Halman-Aldubi Investment Group - one of the top ten privately owned financial institutions in Israel.
The Company was established in December 1995 and specializes in provision of mid and long term saving products and business services through provident funds, pension funds, investment management for mutual funds and portfolio management products. The Group manages and operates over $4.5 Billion AUM with approximately 350,000 accounts. Mr. Aldubi holds an MBA in Finance, and a BA in Management and Economics from Tel Aviv University.
With years of investments experience in the oil and gas industry, Uri is the Chairman of the Association of Oil and Gas Exploration Industries in Israel. Established in 2010, the Association is comprised of the leading companies active in the Israeli oil and gas industry, specializing in the exploration and production of oil and gas.
Matthew Hagopian is a dual-qualified (English/New York law) partner who acts as the co-head of Linklaters’ Global Energy Sector and also leads its U.S. law energy and project finance practice around the world.
He is a leading practitioner in the oil, gas and power sectors, with a particular focus on LNG and FLNG. He has recently advised on potential solutions for Tamar and Leviathan. Hagopian is recognised as a leading lawyer by Chambers Global.
Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan with a unique blend of private and public sector experience.
Barry is currently the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Created in 1891, the RRC no longer regulates railroads, but oversees the oil, natural gas, coal mining, intrastate pipeline, and gas utility distribution industries in Texas. He was appointed to this position in July of 2011, by Governor Rick Perry, and was elected statewide in November of 2012, winning with 74% of the vote. His term ends December 31, 2014. Over the last three years, the RRC has issued more oil and gas drilling permits, than it has in a similar three-year period, since the mid 80s. Texas oil production is about 2 mm bbls/day and gas production is about 21 bcf/day. Barry is also the Chairman of the NARUC Gas Committee, a position he has held since January of 2013.
Prior to the RRC, Barry was the Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, a position to which he was appointed in April of 2004. He was reappointed in September of 2007 and promoted to Chairman in November of 2007. The PUCT oversees the Texas electricity and landline telecommunications industries. The competitive Texas electric market is generally considered one the most dynamic and free market electric models in the world. As Chairman of the PUCT, Barry also sat on the ERCOT Board of Directors, served as Vice President of the Regional State Committee of the Southwest Power Pool and as a two term member of the US DOE Electricity Advisory Committee.
Prior to beginning public service, Barry spent 17 years as either a municipal bond attorney or as a public finance investment banker. He held leadership positions with Lazard, First Boston, JP Morgan, and Bank One, where he was the National head of tax-exempt origination.
Barry graduated with a BBA summa cum laude from Texas A&M University, with a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, and with an MPA from Harvard University’s School of Government where he was the first recipient of the Joel Leff Fellowship in Political Economy.
Barry and his wife of 27 years, Marijane, have four wonderful children and live in Austin, Texas.
Michal Franco Kedmi is an independent business consultant based in London. Up until recently Michal served as the Senior Adviser to the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Energy and
Water Resources. Michal founded an energy consulting business that specializes in public affairs and regulatory consulting, contract management, strategy development and market entry services –mainly in the Israeli market.
Listed in Israel’s Top 40 most promising young professionals by Israel’s leading financial magazine Michal gained critical experience and most intimate knowledge of the fast growing natural gas industry in the Mediterranean basin and has been deeply involved in the formulation of the export of natural gas policy of the Israeli government. She is a specialist both international and Israeli infrastructure markets, public and private sectors alike.
Michal is a Board Member of the ‘Ezra & Bizaron Company’, a specialized construction and preservation company for the City of Tel-Aviv and was a Member of the Board of Israel Railways, one of the country’s largest public companies. She also specializes in renewable energy and clean-tech as well as in policy and regulation formulation and development. Michal is a certified Israeli Lawyer and earned her LL.B (Cum Laude) and LL.M, specializing in commercial Law from Tel-Aviv University.
Robert Amsterdam has a strong track record in countries facing rule of law challenges, offering a unique multi-disciplinary approach to complex issues. For over thirty years he has represented high-profile clients in commercial, corporate and political cases internationally. He is experienced in managing, litigating and arbitrating disputes, and through the extensive network he has created he is able to put together “virtual firms” of the best minds in their fields to handle disputes and crises under the best possible representation within the context of both local and international law.
Past clients include numerous mining and energy companies operating in emerging markets. In 2003, Robert was retained by Amnesty International-recognized prisoner of conscience Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s most prominent oil executive, to defend him against political persecution by the Russian government. In 2008, he joined the defence team for Eligio Cedeño, a businessman and political prisoner in Venezuela who was later successfully released into freedom. Robert serves as counsel to prominent opposition leaders such as Dr. Chee Soon Juan in Singapore. In 2010 he was appointed by the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra to defend members of the Red Shirt pro-democracy movement and, in 2013, he was retained by the Internet mogul Kim Dotcom.
Robert represents former President of Zambia Rupiah Banda and his son Henry, with respect to unlawful harassment and persecution by the new government. In Nigeria, he has represented prominent public figures, having developed an extensive network of political and business leaders that dates back more than three decades. Among other notables, he has acted for the former Executive Director of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, as well as the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja. In early 2013, Robert won a landmark decision before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal on behalf of a pro-bono client, Dr. Georges Tadonki, whose contract with UNOCHA was not renewed due to political events related to Zimbabwe.
As a prolific columnist and blogger, Robert’s writings have been published in the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and theFordham International Law Journal, among other publications. He has delivered keynote speeches to groups such as Chatham House, University College of London, Cato Institute, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and numerous energy, mining, and international investment conferences. Robert has made several television appearances, was nominated to the “Hot 100” by the UK publication The Lawyer, was named “Lawyer of the Week” by the Times in London, and was most recently profiled in the US magazine The American Lawyer.
According to the former British Ambassador to Russia, Andrew Wood, “The word that best describes Bob is courage, both moral and actual. He raises questions that are not always welcome, and that is often the proper business of a lawyer.”
Robert is a member of the Canadian and International Bar Associations, and is licensed as a Solicitor-Advocate in the United Kingdom. He earned his BA from Carleton University in Ottawa, and studied law at Queen’s University in Ontario.
Dr. Serge Rueff Ph.D is a Business Development Consultant with Atlantis-Nautilus of USA. An ultra-deepwater expert, Serge is a past-Director of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He had created the Network of Excellence in Training "NExT" concept, and "PetroStars", an integrated Project Management Consortium.
He held various technical and high managerial positions with IIOC around the World, from Australia to North America, from the Middle-East and Africa to Europe, and with service companies and offshore contractors. Serge consulted for the World Bank, UNDP and ADB.
Shlomo Alfia is a Senior Partner at EY Israel. He has 22 years of experience in providing audit, taxation and consulting services to Oil & Gas companies operating in Israel and abroad and assists them in creating their business models in Israel.
He has also accumulated vast experience in the energy field and has provided services to leading companies including: Avner Oil & Gas Exploration, Delek Drilling, Noble Energy, Woodside, Delek Energy Systems, Yam-Tatis Project, Tamar Project, Leviathan Project, ATP, Isramco Negev 2 LP, Modiin Energy LP, AGR, Lapidot, Israel Opportunity and others.
Mark specialises in advising on infrastructure projects and project financing transactions in a wide variety of fields. In particular, he advises clients in the energy field, with particular emphasis on exploration and production of natural gas. He acts for owners and operators of gas exploration rights on all aspects of their activities, including applications to the Petroleum Commissioner, Farm-In Agreements, JOA's and ongoing matters. He also advises Israeli and international lenders on all aspects of the financing of gas exploration and production projects in Israel (such as the Tamar field), including advising on regulatory issues and the security package.
Mark also represents concessionaires, bidding groups, Israeli and international banks and financial institutions as well as the public sector in connection with large-scale BOT infrastructure projects, such as toll roads, light rail systems and desalination facilities. He recently advised the lenders on the financing of the new IDF Training Centre in Southern Israel, one of the largest infrastructure projects in recent years.
In addition, following recent regulatory changes allowing for the construction of independent power plants, Mark has advised a variety of lenders in connection with the financing of large scale conventional power plants. He also advises several solar power companies on the financing of their projects and on tenders in the solar power field.
Additional Speakers to be announced.
A New Dawn:
Profiting from Israel’s energy potential today
Recent offshore discoveries, production and further potential of natural gas and onshore potential of oil shale reserves show that Israel could become a major energy player ranking alongside Qatar and Saudi Arabia.